Seniors wait hours to be first to climb Washington Monument

The Washington Monument opened for the first time in three years Monday. Photo used under the Creative Commons license.
The Washington Monument opened for the first time in three years Monday. Photo used under the Creative Commons license.
The Washington Monument opened to visitors Monday for the first time in almost three years after an earthquake cracked the 555-foot structure.

Three seniors were the first in line, and said they had been waiting since midnight so they could climb the monument before graduating later this week, the Washington Post reported.

Public tours started at 1 p.m. after an opening ceremony featuring American Idol winner Candice Glover, the Today Show’s Al Roker and various other performers and speakers.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast in August 2011 forced the National Park Service to close the monument to repair about 100 cracks. Over the last three years, D.C. residents, students and visitors have seen scaffolding around the structure as the government spent $15 million to reconstruct it.

The monument will be opened for extended hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the summer, according to the National Park Service.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.